Adoption Process

Our adoption process is designed to help you and the right dog find each other. Our goal is to place each dog into a permanent, safe, and loving home.

To adopt a German Shepherd Dog from us, you must:

  1. Complete an Adoption Questionnaire, either online, or hard-copy (pdf format). If you do not own your home, you must have your landlord complete the Landlord Letter.
  2. Be interviewed by an adoption counselor.
  3. Choose, and be chosen by, the right dog.
  4. Live in one of the 14 Northern California counties we serve.
  5. Allow a home visit by an adoption counselor.
  6. With our approval, sign our Adoption Agree ment, and pay the associated fee.

If you come to an Adoption Day, the process of adopting can be completed in any order; otherwise you must complete an Adoption Questionnaire before we can assist you further. Normally, all our requirements must be met. Home visits may be waived in rare circumstances. We do not adopt to homes outside of Northern California.

After we receive your online Adoption Questionnaire, we will call you to begin the adoption process. Due to our home visit requirement, we only adopt to homes in Northern California. We encourage potential adopters to come to one or more Adoption Days because that is the best way to meet several German Shepherds and to find your new companion.

If you attend an Adoption Day and choose a dog, you may be able to adopt the same day, if all adoption requirements are met. The entire adoption process can be completed on the same day, or it may take longer.

If you can not come to any Adoption Day, we will try to assist you using email, the mail, and the telephone. This will probably take longer because the people who will help you are volunteers who usually have jobs, and scheduling meetings with dogs can be complex because our dogs live in many homes and kennels.



The Heart Healer
Post Date: 1/7/2010 12:40:27 AM

After the tragic loss of my 12 yr old Shepherd in Nov. 2008, my heart felt like it had a hole. "Tar" was an amazing GSD who I knew could never be replaced. Yet something was missing – suddenly I did not have 90lbs of GSD under my feet, watching my every move. I had forgotten how lonely getting ready in the morning was without the occasional brush of the giant nose belonging to the adoring face watching intently as I stood at the sink. There was a void at the end of the day when I pulled into the driveway and didn’t hear the excited bark/yelp (you know what I’m talking about – that unique GSD excited cry of sheer excitement that only they seem to be able to make) the celebrate the beginning of evening play. Tar could never be replaced and yet something was not right. “Piper” the chi-mix (Tars “sister”) seemed to miss him too – he little 10lb frame looked so much smaller and lonelier on the dog pillow without the GSD back rest that she had utilized for so many years. So I discovered GSD Rescue of Nor. Cal. At first I thought I might foster – we had several people in my life that came over with doggy friends to visit and play with Piper. A lot of dog sitting which kept the house consistently full of tail waggers. Fostering may be the perfect solution – I would be helping a GSD without feeling as if I was betraying the memory of Tar and didn’t feel like I was taking on more than I could handle. Until I saw Gyver. There was something about his face. I couldn’t describe it. My heart warmed even though the picture was not terribly revealing. I sat on it. This didn’t feel like a foster and it had only been 6 weeks or so- it was just too soon. I received a call from a member of the rescue about a week later, asking if I could take a foster. “Of course – and while I have you on the phone…..” before I knew it I was asking about Gyver – the heart warmer. Unfortunately, he had just been placed with a family a few days prior. “No problem,” I thought “it’s the universe confirming that it’s not time – the perfect one will come along”. The foster I said I would take ended up being adopted before he needed a foster home and so Piper and I sat and waited. After the holiday rush, I decided to cruise the website again for a GSD. I glanced over the beautiful pictures – but something told me to keep waiting. A few days later I went back- and was shocked to see Gyver's picture back up! It had to be a mistake! I called GSD Nor Cal resc. right away to find out more – I discovered that unfortunately Gyver had been returned to the rescue because he was having a difficult time adjusting to the small children in his adoptive family and was again looking for a home. I was so excited! After speaking to his foster dad, I found out the date of his adoption and went down to greet him. He wasn’t at all what I expected – a good 25lbs smaller than my last GSD – definitely not as “regal” in appearance – but it didn’t matter. There was something about him – he was perfect! I adopted Gyver on February 14th, 2009 – Valentine’s Day! The timing could not have been more perfect! Gyver has been a great addition to the family! He is such a goof ball – and is affectionately known as “monkey” around the house. He LOVES his toys – he has at least one in his mouth at all times! He has mastered a variety of puzzle toys and his Kong. He has a knack for innocent mischief! Like the time he came with me to visit my grandmother and help her paint her shed. Gyver had been asleep in the sun for a while on the other side of the shed while we were painting, and so I walked around it to see what he was up to. When I came around the corner, I almost fell over. I guess he had gotten too hot in the sun and moved to a shaded area – next to the freshly painted shed! Because he flopped over on his side, he managed to get a perfect cream colored stripe from the top of his head to the base of his tail! (Of course this happened the day before his Sirius training class – trying to explain to the trainer why I was bringing a dog with a “skunk paint job” was slightly awkward!). Only Gyver could manage to paint himself like a skunk on accident and not make the least bit of a mess! He enjoys all of the visiting dogs and has been very kind to several foster kittens that have come home from time to time. Piper loves her new “brother”. Gyver is not always thrilled when she tries to cuddle- but he is a gentleman about it! Gyver is quite the ham. He loves to bring me “presents” when I get home – often times it’s a toy, but occasionally it has been miscellaneous items from around the house (a shoe, his bowl, a printer box, a cushion, etc) but they are always in perfect condition! He also LOVES the beach. His favorite thing to do is swim – and you have to be careful because if you’re not paying attention, he’ll herd you in to swim with him! He has been an absolute joy – it’s been 11 months but it feels as if he has been in the family forever! My heart still aches for Tar – but Gyver has helped fill up the void and created a new little spot all for himself. I am so glad to have him in my life and so please with GSD of Nor Ca. Thank you for everything! - Erika, Gyver and Piper


Important Note About Dog Descriptions

Please remember that the descriptions of dogs (of Dogs Available) have been written by GSRNC volunteers and are usually based only upon our observation of the dog since the time it was rescued. While we try to provide dog descriptions that are fair and accurate, the nature of our work involves contact with dogs whose background and history are unknown to us. GSRNC cannot warrant or guarantee any dog's future behavior. For example, if we say that a rescue dog gets along with children, cats, or other dogs, this statement is usually based upon the fact that one of our volunteers has observed the dog interacting with his or her own children or pets. While this information may be helpful, we cannot be certain of how a dog will do with the children or pets in your home. If you are considering adopting, we encourage you to come to one of our Adoption Days and meet our rescue dogs. Ultimately, only you can decide whether one of our dogs is right for you.